What We Learned: MLS Week 12

What We Learned: MLS Week 12

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 6, 2011
  • 4 Comments
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 12, What We Learned

Hans Backe's club is still showing they have a ways to go here. (Getty Images)

While last week’s WWL post didn’t make it due to the holiday, this week’s is here. The Gold Cup may be stealing most of the headlines, but Major League Soccer still roars on here. But week 12 in MLS was one that most probably will forget, or will likely have already forgotten.

1. Fugly weekend. With 30ish players called into international duty this past week, it was pretty clear that some other guys would need to step up to carry the load. It turns out that very few knew that they needed to do so. In 10 matches this week we saw six draws, three of them scoreless. The schedule had a little to do with that if you look at the matchups. We can’t be shocked to see draws between Chivas and Vancouver or Toronto and Kansas City. Those kinds of games screamed a draw.

2. Down in the Big Apple? A six-game winless mark has a lot of people talking about these Red Bulls. Sure the Gold Cup tore apart their roster a bit but they were playing fairly bad before this past week. Dropping points at home to a team like Columbus that had to get their offense from a rookie defender shows that something is not right with Hans Backe’s team. I’m sure Red Bull fans are getting a tad worried after seeing them drop a late goal to Columbus’s Rich Balchan in the 92nd minute Saturday in such a similar way that could have taken them back to 2009. That draw had to feel more like a loss. Even with six regulars missing you could still make the argument that the Red Bulls had more talent than the Crew. Still, this result for the boys in yellow had to be uplifting.

3. Two coaches debut to little success. Tom Soehn in Vancouver and Frank Klopas started their new gigs in similar fashion this past week, with a draw (sure Soehn’s side lost in Salt Lake later in the week). Eh, color me a bit unimpressed though so far. For the Caps it extended their winless run to 13 games. Yes, you read that correctly. With Kansas City set to open it’s new stadium this week, don’t be shocked if they end up sitting at the bottom of the league standings before long. But we expected that going into the year with them being an expansion side though. The Fire also extended their winless streak to the double-digits as well. Now at 10-games the Fire still look a long way out here.

4. Brutal road trip comes to an end for KC. That 10-game road trip is now over. Come Wednesday it will be a thing of the past for Sporting as they open their doors to a beautiful new stadium. But at 1-6-3 are people really expecting this KC side to do anything magical in their new stadium? Let’s not think for a moment that a new stadium is going to magically change the way they play defense here. With 19 goals even up on the year, they’re near the bottom of the league in that category. Had it not been for a blow out loss for Toronto to Philadelphia, Sporting would have the league’s worst goal-differential. The stadium will be a boost don’t get me wrong here, but they dug themselves a mighty hole here. Getting out of it won’t be easy.

5. Hartman’s 100th shutout. What should be a big deal really isn’t sadly. Kevin Hartman posted his 100th career shutout this past weekend in a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution to help extend FC Dallas’ unbeaten run to nine games. Hartman is the only keeper in league history to hit the century mark for shutouts, RSL’s Nick Rimando is about 28 or so shutouts behind him. Still, a huge congrats to Kevin. I know after the game Saturday he was pretty happy with the result and the mark on his record.

6. Chivas and San Jose on the up tick. One thing in front of the now-hot Earthquakes is Chivas USA. Both are neck and neck in the stands out west and will continue to be for a while I’d imagine. Chivas now has a three-game unbeaten mark while San Jose’s unbeaten mark is up to six games. Impressive from the two sides that didn’t look so good a couple months ago. But given how tight things are out west the two will have to continue to pluck away at getting results. It won’t be easy though.

7. Anyone stepping up in the East? While New York is down, Philly is plugging away at results still. You have to give Peter Nowak’s team credit here. It’s not pretty at times but it is enough to stay on top of things out east. The Union still sit at the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference with 21 points while no one else seems to want to get near them. D.C. could be making a run at things here soon, but they’re inconsistent play tells me to not hold my breath for it just yet. Houston hasn’t won since April; New England and Toronto can’t seem to find any luck away from home (or even at home too); and Chicago and KC seem to just be limping towards who knows what. We thought this conference was better at the start of the season but it appears out initial feelings going into the season were right, its just a weaker conference.

  • Andrew G

    I think the funny thing about the union (and yes i’m a union fan) is that we aren’t playing our best soccer yet. yes the results are coming in terms of points, but were still missing the link up top. mwanga looks like he is starting to play like the number one pick, and if le toux ever finds half of his form from 2010 this team could be really dangerous.

    • True, they haven’t been at all. But they’re the only one in the East that seems to be at least getting something at the moment. It’s crazy.

      And yes, Mwanga looks to be getting back to 2010 form, which is great to see. The kid is a blast to watch.

      • Andrew G

        Couldn’t agree more. The east is putrid right now. It will be interesting to see if a team like KC steps up with their new stadium, or DC, Houston or Columbus, given they didn’t lose a lot to the Gold Cup.

        • Maybe, though I’m not holding out for KC here even with the new digs. Their defense and midfield have a lot of work to do before they become a contender even in that conference.